Abdicating Broughtupsy: What I learned from behaving like a Salmon Tot Retriever on Social Media


Stardate: 23rd February 2015.

Hey all.

Last march, I was in what I believed to be an impossible solution. It was affecting my health. And, really, when I didn’t think about driving my car in to a wall, I felt like I was dying.

I had a meltdown.

It was the second full meltdown of my life… and absolutely dissimilar to the first.

The first time around (2007), I imploded. I was in so much pain inside, that my family had thought I’d harm myself. The truth? I had: by keeping it inside.

The second time around: this time; I let it out… and felt absolutely nothing after except relief. No anger. No shame. No pain. Nothing, except closure… peace… and hopefulness.

That was 11 months ago.

That’s basically a year, right? And what an interesting and fruitful year it’s been!

  • I married someone who’d stuck with me, flaws and all: someone with whom I could be absolutely honest.I married someone who’d lived a life very similar to my own. With her, I felt no shame or pressure. We, both flawed, did many months of counseling together prior. I learned about myself. She did as well. Did I mention that she’s pregnant now? It’s a girl. Every day, I love them both a bit more.
  • I acquired a mentor. It has been, and continues to be, a humbling process. She claims to have seen sparks of brilliance in my work. And me? I’m just happy to feel listened to. Up to this point in my life, I’d just written. Regardless of the content, it’s never been calculated or intentionally malicious, or salacious. It’s always just been the world, as filtered through my heart, skin, brain, lungs. Now, I have someone in my corner saying stuff like ‘I expect better’, and actually giving advice that I can use to grow.
  • I think I’ve grown as a writer. My second book should be launched by September.
  • I’ve expanded my businesses. I’ve lived. Not to say that I was short on life experience prior… No. But: I have lived…truly lived. And, more importantly, I’ve learned. I have learned a lot of things.Let’s discuss those things.

The backstory:

A year & a half ago, I broke off a relationship with a young lady. She didn’t take the break well… refusing to move on, or let it go. We agreed to sit down with my best friend, also a female, a month later, to see if we could find a common ground. But, at the end of the three hour long discourse, my best friend agreed that we should go our separate ways…work on ourselves (separately), & maybe try again in the distant future. The young lady agreed to the terms. I gladly did as well. But, within the hour, she rescinded. That became the norm for the next 6 months: Me calling it quits, she deciding (for both of us) that we could work on it, & refusing to leave.

This would have been fine, mind you, if this wasn’t coupled with a number of unhealthy, undesirable behaviours (the majority of which I won’t rehash here for obvious reasons). The most painful of those behaviours? Emotional manipulation… And trashing my reputation, both publicly and privately.

Both of these factors have become the norm following any break-up I’ve been through. My friends and peers have noticed it repeatedly. The expected response, for a male on the receiving end, is stoic silence. Having warned this young lady multiple times over the first six months that I would no longer put up with the latter, I chose to break my silence.

This was wrong, for a number of reasons. Those reasons being:

  • I am a man (and men are expected to be ‘strong’. The socially-acceptable of definition of ‘strength’, as applied to males, directly translates to mean: able to take abuse…whether physical or emotional, particularly at the hands of a woman).
  • I am a man (and the act of ‘airing laundry’, is deemed ‘effeminate’).
  • I am a man (and the ultimate test of a man’s worth, revolves around his ability to show unconditional respect for a woman).
  • Social Media is the worst place to address personal issues (though, truth-be-told, if it’s ok for an organisation to place an Ad, after a person gets fired, which states: “We are no longer affiliated with [*insert individual’s name*]. He/She is not authorised to conduct business on our part”, it should be ok for a person to do the equivalent after terminating a relationship… No? I jest)!

As per the above breakdown, “But you’re a man” was the common prefix to the majority of the tirades that followed my post. Mind you, none of those voices had said to my now-former significant other, at any point: “You’re a woman. This behaviour is beneath you”… a trend noted by many of the men who commented on the post, or contacted me privately.

Anyway, I’ve digressed.

What I’ve learned about ditching etiquette on social media:

1. There is a place for it.
People will claim otherwise. Some will say that ‘there are three sides to every story: his, hers, and the truth’, but these same individuals will take her side as the truth… without ever bothering to investigate his side, or search for their own truth. Breaking silence puts information out there: More information than anyone has aright to, truthfully. But information all the same.

2.There will be reprisals.

This is expected and unavoidable. Expect to lose the respect of some. Expect to disappoint some. Expect to be made to feel like less of a person by people who have done far worse. Expect all of this, plus ten percent gratuity.

3. It will break undesirable cycles.
Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, while expecting different results. Being the ‘strong, silent type’, in this day and age, is insanity…
literally.
A study conducted in 2012 indicated that men were three times more likely to commit suicide than women. And, further, this figure jumped to ten times more likely for men of a lower socioeconomic standing. Mutiple other studies have also arrived at similar conclusions. [2][3][4][5]

There are also correlations between , stress, and the increased possibility of heart attacks, strokes, and sudden death.[6][7]

And, I’ll be honest, there were a number of days during that relationship that I wanted to die. Many times that I told her that talking to her, and the voluminous arguments that inevitably followed, made me want to sip a gramoxone and coke cocktail.
Silence brought me chest pain, elevated blood pressure, and suicidal thoughts.
Anyone who knows me, and my lifestyle and personally, would know that none of those things have a place in my make-up.
I have digressed however. Let’s get back to it:
4. It isn’t about people. But it is.
We always say ‘it doesn’t matter what people think’. This is true, and it’s also a lie. See point #1. What people think, influences their interaction with you. We don’t exist in a bubble: We, as business owners, service providers, and employees, need people. We need them to care about and value us as human beings. We need others to exist: point blank.
Sometimes however, in the interest of achieving point #3, we need to say ‘fuck it’… and opt instead, to discard the weight of others’ opinion.

5. You’ll never feel lighter, or heavier.

Oxymoronic?
Naw.
On one hand, you will always be ‘that guy’. On the other hand, you’ll always be ‘that guy’. Reconcile yourself to that fact. People will be disgusting to you, as they now see you as less of a man… and thus, less of a person.
sucking dick3
They may dedicate entire facebook posts, and whatsapp groups to the daily trashing of your life and achievements. (lol)
However: as Venom is used to make anti-venom, and viruses to make vaccines… you can consider yourself cured.

Take away points:

  • Think about the reprisals thoroughly.
  • Think about what you need as an individual.
  • Think about the reprisals again.
  • Figure out if there are better ways of approaching the problem at hand.
  • Get a broader back and thicker skin.
  • Get to typing.
  • Be prepared to deal with the fall-out
  • Realise that you probably cannot fathom the universe-shaking tsunami of a fall-out you’re about to bring upon yourself.
  • Punctuate well.

Addendum:

A lot of people have asked if I’d do it again. “Would you do it again”, isn’t the same question as ‘do you regret it’ however.
Do I regret it?
Yes. There were some good people hurt/exposed in the crossfire who truly did not deserve it.
Would I do it again? Every time that I’ve replayed the scenario, using the person I was at that point, I come away with a ‘yes’.
The person I am now, though unable to point to solution presently, likes to think that maybe he’d do it better.
Yours,
-“That Asshole”: C. Springer
References:
2. “Suicide is a gender issue that can no longer be ignored” – http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/23/suicide-rates-men-gender-issue
3. “The Gender Inequality Of Suicide: Why Are Men At Such High Risk?” – http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2012/09/24/the-gender-inequality-of-suicide-why-are-
men-at-such-high-risk/
4. “Men’s Suicide Rate is 3 Times That of Women” – http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/06/11/mens-suicide-rate-is-3-times-that-of-women/55897.html
5. “Men are now THREE times more likely to commit suicide than women – and is the recession to blame?” – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2562871/Men-THREE-
times-likely-commit-suicide-women-recession-blame.html
6. “Changes in daily hassles and life events and the relationship with coronary heart disease risk factors: a 2-year longitudinal study in 27-29-year-old males and
females.” Twisk et. al. J Psychosom Res. 1999 Mar;46(3):229-40. – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10193913
7. “Reducing Emotional Distress Improves Prognosis in Coronary Heart Disease” – http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/17/2018.fullGlossary:
Broughtupsy – Proper upbringing; manners or class.
Salmon Tot Retriever – Dog with no pedigree.
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5 comments

  1. Good read man, gotta keep your head up in these times indeed..reflect on what’s good in your life n move forward πŸ‘Š

  2. You are a man and you are entitled to cry, scream, rant or be quiet if you want to.
    societal standards annoy me and cause untold damage (to both women & men) to our psyche.

    A woman can’t be strong, should be weak, delicate & wear vulnerability on her sleeve
    A man must be strong, can’t be weak or show vulnerability and stoic.

    Its all BS.
    In my heart I know its BS, but as I grow older I realise I too must play the game if I want to run a business and feed myself.

    I wish you all the best,
    Be human… thats who the creator made you to be.

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